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NATO expansionism among root causes of Russia-Ukraine conflict: Iran MP

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Iranian head of Iran-Belarus parliamentary friendship group Abolfazl Amouei (R) and Belarusian Ambassador to Tehran Dmitry Koltsov meet on February 26, 2022. (Photo by ICANA)

A senior Iranian lawmaker has once again underlined the necessity of solving the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, saying Belarus can play a role in this regard given its strategic position in Eastern Europe.

The Iranian head of Iran-Belarus parliamentary friendship group, Abolfazl Amouei, made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with Belarusian Ambassador to Tehran Dmitry Koltsov as Russian and Ukrainian forces are clashing in the Ukrainian capital on the third day of the crisis.

"Given its strategic position in Eastern Europe, Belarus can play a role in resolving issues in Ukraine through diplomacy. Under current circumstances, all countries must make efforts to end this conflict, which is killing innocent people, as soon as possible," Amouei said.

He added that the expansionist approach and provocations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the East are among the root causes of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

"Perhaps if it were not for NATO provocations, we would not be witnessing such problems in Ukraine now. In the Islamic Republic's view, political dialogue is the main solution to the problems," the Iranian lawmaker said.

The Belarusian ambassador, for his part, blamed irresponsible policies of some Western countries for the ongoing developments in Eastern Europe and said his country has always called for the settlement of issues in Ukraine through dialogue.

Negotiations and dialogue are the only ways to achieve lasting peace and security, Koltsov added.

In a televised speech early on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in eastern Ukraine, collectively known as Donbass.

The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at "denazification" of Ukraine and “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

'Iran Parliament ready to boost cooperation with Belarus'

Amouei also expressed the Iranian Parliament's readiness to promote cordial relations with Belarus in various political, economic and parliamentary sectors.

The Iranian lawmaker said that the two countries' parliaments play a leading role in strengthening bilateral cooperation and called for more bilateral consultations.

The Belarusian diplomat also welcomed constant talks between the two countries' lawmakers and urged the expansion of parliamentary cooperation as a means to improve relations in various fields.

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